Lord’s Day Twenty-Six

Every Sunday, we will be going through one of the fifty-two Lord’s Days of the Heidelberg Catechism. Written in the year 1563, the Heidelberg still remains a popular confession of faith in many churches to this day. You can find the full text here.

Lord’s Day 26

Question 69: How does holy baptism
remind and assure you
that Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross
benefits you personally?

Answer: In this way:
Christ instituted this outward washing 1
and with it promised that,
as surely as water washes away the dirt from the body,
so certainly his blood and his Spirit
wash away my soul’s impurity,
that is, all my sins.2
1 Acts 2:38
2 Matt. 3:11; Rom. 6:3-10; 1 Pet. 3:21

Question 70: What does it mean
to be washed with Christ’s blood and Spirit?

Answer: To be washed with Christ’s blood means
that God, by grace, has forgiven our sins
because of Christ’s blood
poured out for us in his sacrifice on the cross.1
To be washed with Christ’s Spirit means
that the Holy Spirit has renewed
and sanctified us to be members of Christ,
so that more and more
we become dead to sin
and live holy and blameless lives.2
1 Zech. 13:1; Eph. 1:7-8; Heb. 12:24; 1 Pet. 1:2; Rev. 1:5
2 Ezek. 36:25-27; John 3:5-8; Rom. 6:4; 1 Cor. 6:11; Col. 2:11-12

Question 71: Where does Christ promise
that we are washed with his blood and Spirit
as surely as we are washed
with the water of baptism?

Answer: In the institution of baptism, where he says:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit.”1
“The one who believes and is baptized will be saved;
but the one who does not believe will be condemned.”2
This promise is repeated when Scripture calls baptism
“the water of rebirth”3 and
the washing away of sins.4
1 Matt. 28:19
2 Mark 16:16
3 Tit. 3:5
4 Acts 22:16

If you’re keeping score at home, Lord’s Day 26 puts us halfway through the Heidelberg catechism (and halfway through 2017). Here we turn our focus on how baptism benefits, comforts, and assures us. Baptism symbolizes forgiveness for as surely as water washes away the dirt from the body, so certainly his blood and his Spirit wash away my soul’s impurity, that is, all my sins. It also symbolizes transformation because the Holy Spirit has renewed and sanctified us to be members of Christ, so that more and more we become dead to sin and live holy and blameless lives. And when we baptize, we baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus commanded his disciples.

“We ought to regard the sacrament of baptism with reverence. An ordinance of which the Lord Jesus Himself partook, is not to be lightly esteemed. An ordinance to which the great Head of the Church submitted, ought to be ever honorable in the eyes of professing Christians.” J. C. Ryle

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